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HELP! Advice Need for Small Church Worship Team...Growing Pains!

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  • HELP! Advice Need for Small Church Worship Team...Growing Pains!

    Hi Worship Community. I am the worship leader at a small church and need your honest advice on how to handle the following situation. I am also asking the LORD how to best be a leader and do His will.
    Before I begin, just a bit of background on my team. Being from a small church my team consists of -4 vocal team members (2 male and 2 female), and 4 musicians (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and drums). The current team of 8 are all mature Christians (all in 20-30's) and really understand the Ministry we are doing each week while leading worship.

    We have 3 youth team members in the church we are also interested in joining the team. They have expressed interest through their parents to various team members of the worship ministry but never directly to me. Also, I am asked why the kids are not included by other church members as well. Through others I was told, the youngsters have the expectation that they want to lead the songs, and not just follow along and be part of the choir. We have invited them in the past to come practices and they would show up late, act disinterested and aloof the whole time. Also, if given a microphone, they constantly tap it to see "if it's on." They think the team is muting their voices and purposefully lowering their sound. Eventually, I gave up pushing them to come if they don't show the effort. But still, I hear from others why am I not involving them.
    That aside, they were invited to join our all-in practice this past weekend. The custom of our team is to record the entire session so team members can listen to it at a later time. At the practice, a hot mic picked up an internal conversation by the youngsters which consisted of them complaining about not having their own microphones while singing, how their voices are not heard on the speakers, how team members act rudely to them (NOT TRUE!) and other not so nice comments about some of our musicians.

    As a worship leader, what should I do? These kids are teenagers (13-17 years old) but they are old enough to know right from wrong. Coming from a small church, I don't want to discourage them from pursuing worship ministry and I know they have the potential to be the next generation who leads the church.

    But I cannot condone their behavior. I am also in a tricky spot because they are not aware their conversation was recorded. Should I confront them? Go to their parents? Tell the Pastor? Or just let it go and pray for GOD to change their attitude? Has anyone faced a situation like this in the past? Any advice and prayer would be appreciated.
    Last edited by linmathew; 01-30-2017, 06:12 PM.

  • #2
    Yes, address the issue, with the parents present. Do you have an audition system in place? Do you have a set of values that your team holds each other accountable to? Do you have a clearly defined purpose and vision for you team? Does your pastor know the situation and have your back? Do you have requirements for joining the team (like minimum age, member of the church ,etc.)? Do you adult team members know not to allow these kids to bring their complaints to them, but to send the kids directly to you?

    Nate
    Practical Worship

    Please Pray For My Wife

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    • #3
      I would start a separate band for the youth and let them play a song or two once a month. If that works out well maybe you could transition some of the older ones into the main praise band?

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      • #4
        I agree^^--deal with it and include the parents. They're old enough to know right from wrong, but not mature enough to actually make the right decision. Sounds like they need some discipleship in the areas of servant-heartedness, humility, and teaching on what it means to be a part of a team.

        We have had, and currently have, youth from 13-17 on our team, but the standards and expectations are the same for everyone. For example, everyone is required to pass the audition, attend all scheduled rehearsals and services, be on time, be a team player, etc. We lay it all out clearly before they are ever on the team. Then if there is an issue that arises it's easy to refer to the expectations we all agreed on. We are slow to get people on the team, which in turn means we rarely have to take anyone off the team.

        Confrontation always stinks, but when it's done out of a heart of love and concern for that person's growth as well as the good of the entire church, it's always worth the discomfort. If things like this sit under the surface, never being dealt with it can cause major damage by spreading division in churches.

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        • #5
          Tough situation, especially with external pressure to be involving the youngsters more.

          From my own experience it does no-one any favours to treat youth members differently than any other member of the worship team. So the expectations would be the same as for anyone else, eg. showing up on time, being a team player, etc.

          If you don't have an audition process and/or band expectations document, get one. That lays the foundation for any future confrontations that might need to happen. They are aware of the rules from the get-go and the consequences of not living up to them.

          I agree that you need to confront the issue, as otherwise it may continue unchecked. But I would do it one-on-one first. Tell them what you know and what you have observed and perhaps ask them what their hopes are in joining the band. What is their understanding of worship ministry? That might give you some useful information. Then let them know about your expectations and how the same standard applies to everyone - no favourites. Explain that it is their heart and their behaviour that will determine their capacity for worship ministry, not so much their talent.

          See where that gets you. If you get nowhere one-on-one, you can try with their parents or a trusted pastor present. Be prepared to put your foot down and say no if they really won't come to the party. But try everything else first.

          You may also have to explain your expectations to other non-band people who have been applying pressure to you.

          Let us know how it goes.

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